Many of us have found ourselves working from home for the first time. Even if you run an e-commerce business, you may not have an office/workspace at home as you may go to a co-working space. If you are self-employed, you probably have an at-home office. However, if you’re like me, you often go somewhere else to work and therefore don’t have a home office. So we all need to figure out how to set up a home office/workspace that is functional, calming, and comfortable…and one that induces productivity!
While working from home can have its challenges, your workspace needs to be one that can help cut out those challenges and be conducive to being productive. You want your space to be a place where you can do your best work. We’ve put together five tips and tricks to help you make a home office/workspace.
Tip 1: Location, location, location
Where you put your home office/workspace is crucial, it can cut down on distractions; whether that is pets, family, or a loud television. Your space needs to be in a spot that is away from those distractions and will let in natural light (nothing worse than working in a dark corner).
Creating physical barriers can help. If you live in an apartment or your house isn’t big, sectioning off an area that is dedicated to working can get you in the right mind frame and will let others know that when you are in this space, it is yours and you will be working.
Your space doesn’t have to be a traditional office. Having a table and chair is good enough, as good because this way you know that when you ‘go to work,’ that is all you will do in that space.
If you have children, creating a space where you and your children can work may be helpful. This way, you can all work together and help them as needed. While this may not be great for you to get work done, you can set rules during the time that they are doing their distance learning.
Tip 2: Sit up straight!
If you find yourself working at home for the first time, you may not be able to splurge on an ergonomic chair or desk, but there are still things you can do to create a comfortable workspace.
When creating your office/workspace, look around your home for a chair and table that allow you to work on your computer without hunching over. Look for a chair that provides back support, but that is also comfortable. Maybe all you have is a dining room chair, a draped blanket over the back or cushion can help with the comfort of the chair.
There are also things to consider while working. When working at a computer, your elbows should be at right angles, and your eyes should be at about eye-level with the computer. This way, you avoid that hunched-back of Notre Dame pose.
However, if you think that working from home may become more permanent (even after COVID-19), splurging on an ergonomic desk may not be a bad idea. They are expensive but very much worth it.
Tip 3: And then there was light
Nothing is worse than working in a dark, dank space. Not having lighting can be depressing and make work more difficult. No light is excellent when you are trying to sleep, but when it is crunch time, not so much.
As mentioned in tip 1, your workspace should be in a place that allows natural light in. Doing this not only benefits your mood but can also increase productivity while decreasing headaches and fatigued eyes. Besides, sunlight makes everyone happy!
In addition to natural light, make sure you have supplemental light. A floor or table lamp will help, and if you work past sunset, the right lighting can help put less strain on your eyes. If you’re eyes feel overly tired, this could be a sign that you need to adjust your lighting.
Tip 4: What’s the Wi-Fi?
Having Wi-Fi goes without question when setting up a home office or workspace, especially if you have an e-commerce business. This tip has more to do with setting up your space in a place that has good Wi-Fi reception, is close to outlets, and more.
Make sure that wherever you are going to work you have an outlet near you, nothing is worse than having your phone or computer about to die and having to run to find the nearest outlet. Getting an extension cord is a good idea as well, then you can have all the electronics you need to be plugged in. Don’t forget to set your printer up in a spot that is easy to access, and if your computer can be connected through Wi-Fi, do it! I can attest that it is very convenient.
If your work requires you to make video calls, set up in a space that has a plain or non-distracting wall and (once again) has proper lighting.
Tip 5: Needs a little green
We don’t know how long we’ll need to work from home due to COVID-19, so when not spruce up your office/workspace? Just because it is temporary doesn’t mean you can’t keep an office plant. Just like you do at the regular office.
Some reports show that having an office plant or engaging with nature can help to boost productivity and mood. This can manifest as angling your desk towards trees and shrubbery if you have some or even buying a plant. Succulents are great plants to have, they’re beautiful and don’t need much water.
Alternatively, if you don’t have any greenery out your window or, like me, would kill a fake plant, consider going for a walk in your local park or around your neighborhood on your break (while staying 2 meters apart). This way, you get the greenery, fresh air, and a break!
Working from home can be difficult and stressful at times, but it is also a privilege right now, as some aren’t able to, whether because they are essential workers or have unfortunately been laid off. Please take advantage of this while you can and make the best out of the situation that we all currently find ourselves in.